Looking for ideas for an Ironbriar encounter (SPOILERS)


Rise of the Runelords


I decided to have Justice Ironbriar in charge of the investigation into the rash of Sihedron murders, just for fun.

After finishing the Misgivings, the party decided to take time to craft items before heading to Magnimar. This means that Ironbriar has had lots of time to find out who the players are; it has become common knowledge in Sandpoint that they defeated what was left of Aldern and solved the murders.

When my players arrived in Magnimar, one of the players was carrying a shield marked with the Sihedron Rune (it was a bit of treasure I added to the Catacombs of Wrath) and this made quite a stir at the gate, but the players aced their diplomacy rolls and calmed the guards down. In the conversation they found out that Ironbriar was the Judge in charge of the investigation.

Anyway, they have since investigated the townhouse and found the deed for Foxglove Manor, and know about the connection to the Seven's Sawmill.

Now, before staging a raid on the sawmill, they plan to see Ironbriar in the hopes that they will be deputized and have the authority of law when they enter the mill.

So this could get really interesting. I am thinking that upon seeing the Sihedron Rune on the shield and on the medallion that Ironbriar will accuse the players of the murders. The players will then be fugitives. They pretty much have to go for the sawmill at that point anyway, but the cult will then be expecting them.

Any suggestions as to how I should play this out?


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

How long of a wait?
Long enough for Xanesha to hear about things?
Did any of the bad guys from Thistletop escape/get captured and sent to Magnimar?

I like the idea of Ironbriar pinning the name of "The Heptagram Killer" on to one of the PCs, but him trying to arrest them all has only bad outcomes for you to have to muddle through on the adventure flow chart

(Ironbriar wins - party captured, most likely killed)
- or -
(Ironbriar fails, this pretty much exposes himself)

More likely he begins paperwork to make it look like he has information implicating the PCs, and sets the mill on alert beefing up the encounters. Ironbriar will then have a perfect cover for having killed the group.

Maybe an overzealous guardsman tries to arrest the PCs based upon Ironbriar's paperwork.

Maybe a sympathetic guardsman warns the PCs that they may be arrested soon.


I did the same. Tsuto also survived, and I name dropped Ironbriar at the end of Burnt Offerings as being the Justice who Tsuto had been sent to for punishment. Someone else on here mentioned the idea of Ironbriar being Tsuto's father, so I ran with that.

They encountered Tsuto in Magnimar (he was staying at Aldern's townhouse), were surprised he hadn't been executed for murder, and then re-captured him and discovered that Ironbriar was his father and that 'paperwork had been lost', which was why Tsuto was free.

Tsuto had absolutely nothing to do with the murders, but the players barked up that tree for a bit. They decided they couldn't trust any of the justices or the Mayor at that point though, and were assuming they were all in on the murders.


Make an ambush at Sawmill, with Ironbriar being leader of their "swat" team (take some cultists with them, as their backup from city guard).
It was a good moment in my game, when Ironbriar there revealed himself as part of the cult, while "backup" was blocking the stairs down. Way better was only the part, when Xanesha's spell was dispelled and he spoke his way out of situation (with Inquisitor asking him questions) shifting all blame on lamia.


Tsuto is already dead, sadly, so I can't use that idea. Not bothering having Ironbriar being his father anyway.

I am thinking about what should happen when the party goes to Ironbriar's office to talk to him. Obviously if they do so then the Skinsaw cult would be alerted and could set a trap at the sawmill.

But what would you have Ironbriar do when they meet him outside the sawmill? Before going to the sawmill? Remember that Ironbriar knows who they are (the stalkers in the townhouse were placed there by Ironbriar), but is probably not expecting them to come looking for him.

If he were to have them arrested I think the players would likely avoid doing too much damage to non-evil guys. I also think that if they were thrown in jail they wouldn't have too much of a problem getting out again. Of course, I'd need to make up a prison map.

Any other ideas?


Be cool and charming. He knows about them, but doesn't know for sure what they know about him. When they come to visit him, he'll try cleverly to find out, do they suspect him or not. If they do, if they start accusing him right in his office, he can deny anything and even take them in custody for false statements. And give him some potions of misdirection, that he took prior meeting them. He's clever enough to hide his alignment.
And about Magnimar prison - don't remember details, but wasn't it a one way ticket? In City of Monuments was something about that guards lost any contact whit it, or it's lower levels. That some mad aristocrat is now running the show there.


Ashkar wrote:
Be cool and charming. He knows about them, but doesn't know for sure what they know about him. When they come to visit him, he'll try cleverly to find out, do they suspect him or not. If they do, if they start accusing him right in his office, he can deny anything and even take them in custody for false statements. And give him some potions of misdirection, that he took prior meeting them. He's clever enough to hide his alignment.

I'm pretty sure he also has undetectable alignment on his spell list too. Considering the duration he'd probably always have that going.

The party isn't going to start accusing him because they are completely unaware of his connection to things other than as the investigating official. They actually are trying to avoid some kind of legal consequences if they get caught sneaking into the sawmill, and is hoping they can get some kind of warrant to go in there.

Ashkar wrote:
And about Magnimar prison - don't remember details, but wasn't it a one way ticket? In City of Monuments was something about that guards lost any contact whit it, or it's lower levels. That some mad aristocrat is now running the show there.

Sounds like you are talking about the Hells... but they wouldn't end up there until they were actually sentenced. If they were arrested they would end up in a local jail to await trial. One of the players has enough street connections that even if he couldn't get out on his own someone would probably spring them.


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Ironbriar has only survived this long in his position by being one cool customer and very diligent about avoiding risk. Openly accusing the players of a crime with flimsy evidence is very risky. He knows the players are innocent and does not know what they know or what kind of allies they might have. Further a whole host of diviniation magic can be brought to bear to validate the player's story that Ironbriar can do nothing about. Ironbriar's position is predicated a being above and beyond question. Any investigation into his own affairs has a high chance of undoing everything. So he needs to avoid that at all costs.

A couple options:
Ironbriar is the Good Justice, he is very interested in the players''s information and agrees the Sawmill merits investigation. Unfortunately, the Brotherhood is a long-standing organization with powerful members - an official move against them may have severe political repercussions. Therefore before sanctioning an action agains the Sawmill, he will need to consult with the Mayor. Given the Mayor's schedule that may be a day or two before he can consult and they can prepare their supporters for managing the Brotherhood. He suggests the players return to their Inn, keep a low profile and he will contact them in a day or two. He then hires Night Scale assassions to kill them, backed up by his own cultists and the Scarecrow. One or more cultists carry something that directly ties them to a sawmill. The players only told one person about their suspicions - this should implicate Ironbriar and motivate a direct investigation of the Sawmill without legal sanction.

Another option: Ironbriar is all "good justice" again. He's stunned by the news of the Brotherhood. And unfortunately it confirms his worst suspictions. Magnimar, too, has had its own Sihedron killings and the investigation has produced no progress at all. Ironbriar suspects someone in the guards or government is corrupt and thwarting the investigation. While he would normally never consider mercenaries for this role, he can't trust the guards - he has no choice but to deputize the players. But they have to keep it a secret if anyone else finds out, the jig will be up. He asks they wait until nightfall to keep innocent bystanders to a minimum and then break into the mill (with a minimum of fuss) and find out what's going on. And it has to happen tonight - he can't risk any more murders. When he tells Xanesha about his intentions, she sends the Scarecrow to back up the cultists in an ambush of the pc's - she wants them dead. When the pc's get there, the mill might be dark and largely shutdown with the cultists hidden throughout for sneak attacks and ambushes or the mill might be active as normal with more cultists hidden on the main floor. They graciously treat with the pc's if interacted with and defer to their leader who is on the top floor. They happily lead the pc's upstairs, intending to trap them between cultists and the Scarecrow from below and Ironbriar and the remaining cultists from above.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Latrecis has Ironbriar right as far as I see it - Ironbriar is in a position to set up TPK... SOMETHING has to occur that is unintended by Ironbriar to give the PCs a chance without downplaying Ironbriar.

Latrecis wrote:
They happily lead the pc's upstairs, intending to trap them between cultists and the Scarecrow from below and Ironbriar and the remaining cultists from above

Kruge: [shouts] "Get out! Get out of there! Get out!"

That's certainly the scenario that is coming, which is why I suggested some type of unplanned (by Ironbriar)interference.

If any of the named NPCs from Thistletop arrived in Magnimar, and word got to Xanesha, in a rage at the PC's taking down Naulia, she could force Ironbriar's hand.
Otherwise a guard or cultist acting without orders become likely candidates for "helping" the PCs out of the mess.


the Lorax wrote:
SOMETHING has to occur that is unintended by Ironbriar to give the PCs a chance without downplaying Ironbriar.

Yes, this is my conundrum. There are a number of scenarios here that could just end the adventure in a variety of ways. One is that Ironbriar sets a trap for the players that is severe enough to defeat them.

Another thing that had occurred to me was having the cult clean up everything - they arrive at the sawmill but thanks to Ironbriar's warning the place has been scrubbed. The Skinsaw cultists do not attack unless the PCs actually figure things out. They don't conduct rituals there and there isn't any physical evidence of wrongdoing really. They don't perform the murders at the sawmill.

However, I'm pretty sure this would stump my players completely.

A wand of magic aura and undetectable alignment would be enough to "cover" everyone and everything at the mill; my players don't have the system mastery to figure that out barring a lucky roll. Basically they kind of rely on the Paladin detecting evil and the full casters casting detect magic.

Latrecis wrote:
They happily lead the pc's upstairs, intending to trap them between cultists and the Scarecrow from below and Ironbriar and the remaining cultists from above

Latrecis, I do really like your scenarios, and I think I could work with the second one.

I think a trap involving the scarecrow might be too much... this isn't supposed to be the "big" fight of the adventure. I could basically say that Ironbriar would prefer to present Xanesha with the dead PCs than ask for her help. He wants to look strong in her eyes. So he hasn't notified her yet.

Latrecis wrote:
Kruge: [shouts] "Get out! Get out of there! Get out!"

I don't get this reference. Who is Kruge?

the Lorax wrote:
If any of the named NPCs from Thistletop arrived in Magnimar,

The only survivor was Orik. There has been enough time for him to end up in Magnimar, but he doesn't know Xanesha and she doesn't know him. I'd rather not play it this way as it seems like a stretch to me. Also they basically got everything out of Orik that he knew, so I don't want to change his story now.

So let's say that Ironbriar wants to set up the trap for the players at the sawmill. Anything you can imagine that might tip the players off at the last moment? Something that plausibly would give the players a chance to spring the trap early?

Good ideas, guys, keep them coming!

Peet


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Peet wrote:
the Lorax wrote:
SOMETHING has to occur that is unintended by Ironbriar to give the PCs a chance without downplaying Ironbriar.
Yes, this is my conundrum. There are a number of scenarios here that could just end the adventure in a variety of ways. One is that Ironbriar sets a trap for the players that is severe enough to defeat them.

Exactly. The idea that most readily comes to mind is that one of Ironbriar's underlings (either cultists or town guards) gets gung ho and tries to force the issue before Ironbriar is ready.

Peet wrote:
the Lorax wrote:
Kruge: [shouts] "Get out! Get out of there! Get out!"
I don't get this reference. Who is Kruge?

Star Trek III The Search For Spock, Kruge is the Klingon Commander, trying to get his crew off of the Enterprise before it self destructs - trying to get his crew out of the trap.

Peet wrote:


The only survivor was Orik. There has been enough time for him to end up in Magnimar, but he doesn't know Xanesha...

OK, the Orik angle is no good - unless you want ORIK to be the one who warns the party not to trust Ironbriar.

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